Prom for people with special needs attracts dozens in Piney Woods

Prom for people with special needs attracts dozens in Piney Woods
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - In the background, the speakers are blaring, and fear and insecurities are tossed aside as feet and wheels hit the dance floor.

Prom can be exciting, nerve-wrecking and unforgettable. It's no different for people with special needs.

With that reason, the Texas Special Children 's Project hosted a group of East Texans to take part in the first special needs prom this weekend.

Dakota is nervous as he explains who his date is for the event.

"My friend, my date I guess," said Dakota Bergeron, 10.

The Diboll native said when he first heard his eldest brother would get to go to prom, he realized that opportunity may not come true for him.

"My brother gets to go to prom with somebody and sad because I don't get to go," Dakota said.

His mother, Klara, echoes the notion to be included.

"He just wants to be like everyone else. He knows that his physical limitations different than anybody else so it adds conflict," Klara said.

Circumstances changed, however, when the non-profit organization planned a prom for the Lufkin and Nacogdoches special needs community.

Many students with special needs find the traditional proms aren't any fun said Karen Gurbbs, 28, who didn't attend her high school prom.

"I was picked on my handicap," Gurbbs said.

Gurbbs was often bullied which led to depression making school events not very appealing.

As a result, she said this prom is very comforting.

"Being here with all your friends that you know and trust the most," Gurbbs said.

The importance of trust and acceptance is what Stephanie Davis, who has a son with autism, says she values the most.

"They feel like they're a part of something also because they deserve that," Davis said.

As for Dakota, he said everyone deserves to be included.

"They can have fun and be happy," Dakota said.

The dance event was held at Angelina College where a king and queen were also crowned.

The organization said they aim to host activities customized to special needs to make it an enriching environment for the community.

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